Reject foreign extremism, defense dept tells public after Sulu twin blasts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2019 12:27 PM

Soldiers walk past the body of a man slumped beside a tricycle following an armed attack in front of the temporary headquarters of the army's First Brigade Combat team, in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan town, Sulu on Friday, June 28. Nickee Butlangan, AFP

MANILA — The Department of National Defense on Sunday urged the public to "be adamant in our rejection of foreign extremist ideologies" following Islamic State-claimed bombings that left 8 dead near a military camp in the southern province of Sulu. 

Friday's blasts -- which killed 3 soldiers, 3 civilians and 2 suspected bombers in Indanan town -- bears the hallmarks of a suicide bombing the military said Saturday. 

"The attack once again brings to fore the importance of working together to prevent and counter violent extremism in our communities," Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement. 

"As a nation, we must be adamant in our rejection of foreign extremist ideologies which aim to invalidate our gains in achieving just and lasting peace in the country, particularly in Mindanao," he added. 

The government, he said, is "conducting a deeper investigation on the incident and will not stop until those who are behind it are caught or eradicated." 

The main suspect in Friday's blasts is kidnap-for-ransom group and IS-affiliate Abu Sayyaf, which has carried out some of the nation's worst attacks.

IS claimed the assault was the work of 2 suicide attackers, according to tweets from Rita Katz, the director of SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activities worldwide. 

Suicide attacks are generally rare in the Philippines, but the tactic has been used in two major incidents in the last 12 months: the January bombing of a Catholic cathedral during Sunday mass and a van bomb at a military checkpoint on the island of Basilan in July 2018, authorities said. 

The Philippines has received sustained attention from IS as it works to maintain a presence via its global affiliates following the fall of its self-proclaimed "caliphate" in the Middle East.

The Muslim areas of the south are home to numerous armed groups, several of which are linked to the decades-old insurgency aiming to create a homeland in the Christian-majority nation.

With a report from Agence France-Presse